Ondřej's Biography

As of October 2021

In the 2021/2022 season, Ondřej Soukup has already made his debut with the Czech Chamber Philharmonic at Prague’s Rudolfinum, will debut with the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic, and assist Jac van Steen with FOK Prague Symphony Orchestra on two programmes.

Currently Assistant Conductor with RCM Symphony Orchestra and RCM Philharmonic, he has held numerous music directorships, assisted Martyn Brabbins, Jonathon Heyward, and his development was significantly influenced by studies with Sir Antonio Pappano and Sir Roger Norrington among others. Ondřej is a versatile musician, proficient in symphonic, operatic, choral and contemporary music with a repertoire of over 250 works including Wagner’s Das Rheingold. Mentors and colleagues alike have praised Ondřej’s musicality, leadership, and fervour, which he radiates to fellow musicians and to audiences. Most recently, Ondřej has been appointed Music Director with Kings College London Symphony Orchestra.

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As a postgraduate conductor at the Royal College of Music, Ondřej benefits from the experience, generosity, and support of his professors Toby Purser, Peter Stark, and Howard Williams. Recent RCM projects that Ondřej led include Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale with Sir Thomas Allen, which was featured in RCM’s In Focus series. Other projects include Beethoven’s Second Symphony, Hannah Kendall’s Verdala, Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, and stepping in for Martyn Brabbins at short notice to conduct Thea Musgrave’s Turbulent Landscapes with the RCM Philharmonic.

In recent years, Ondřej has been Conductor at Dramatic Voices Program, and Assistant Conductor at Berlin Opera Academy. At DVP, he worked on Wagner’s Das Rheingold alongside Byron Knutson (Komische Oper Berlin) and Caroline Dowdle (ROH). At BOA, he assisted Lutz de Veer (Nürnberg) on Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, which he performed at OpernFest. The following year, he was invited back to work on Le nozze di Figaro with conductor Peter Leonard (Augsburg), and Die Zauberflöte with Tom Seligman (ROH). Other conductors he has assisted include Will Conway (Chamber Orchestra of Europe), Gregory Batsleer (SCO and RSNO Chorus), and James Henshaw (ENO Chorus).

On the invitation of music director Martyn Brabbins, Ondřej conducted the English National Opera Orchestra in a masterclass. He also conducted the Moravian Philharmonic, Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Antonio Soler and Ensemble Cambrica in similar masterclasses. Leading conductors he studied with include Jorma Panula, Atso Almila, Clark Rundell, Mark Heron, Ryan Bancroft, and Kenneth Kiesler.

As Principal Conductor of Edinburgh University Music Society Sinfonia, he performed works with up to 250 performers. Ondřej took the orchestra on tour around Scotland, and to the Czech Republic in celebration of the society’s 150th anniversary. He was Musical Director of Thomas Coats Memorial Choral Society, which works with professional soloists and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Symphony Orchestra. As Guest Conductor of VoiceArc, he performed Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Strauss’ Ariadne aux Naxos at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Furthermore, Ondřej is Founder and Principal Conductor of Unison Chamber Orchestra, a project-based ensemble that supports local charities. He was also Music Director of InChorus, Conducting Fellow with Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and Music Director of Edinburgh University Brass Band (EUBB) for five years during which he established a composition competition and recorded a CD. He was awarded prizes and bursaries for conducting including the Roderick Brydon memorial award.

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As composer, he was a finalist in the Maurice Ravel International Composition Competition, CD recorded his A Balkanic Eruption with EUBB and his Pitch Black was premiered at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Interconnect event. Ondřej is an avid supporter of fellow composers. He has workshopped and recorded works with EUBB (5x), Edinburgh University String Orchestra (2x), RCM New Ensemble, and most recently with Explore Ensemble, a professional new music ensemble. His teachers have included Prof Peter Nelson, Gareth Williams, and Marijn Simons. Besides conducting and composition, Ondřej gained a First Class degree at The University of Edinburgh, where he majored in trumpet. He now also works as a repetiteur.

Ondřej speaks English, Czech, Russian, French, and German.

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The work of Ondřej has been generously supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture, Help Musicians UK, the Philip Loubser Foundation, Nadace Český hudební fond, Nadace Život umělce, Sir Richard Stapley Trust, Split Infinitive, and Universal Music UK.

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Photos by Jana Marie Knotová, Andrew Perry